(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a mayoral order to implement the Clean Cars Act of 2008, furthering the District’s leadership in the global fight against climate change. The announcement comes as the Trump Administration prepares draft regulations to roll back Obama-era vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards for a cleaner, more sustainable environment for future generations.
“When it comes to fighting climate change, we cannot ignore the facts and we cannot wait another day,” said Mayor Bowser. “If the Federal Government is not going to help our country make progress, state and local leaders across the nation will. Washington, DC is proud to stand with the millions of Americans who share our DC values and are committed to building a cleaner, greener, more sustainable planet for generations to come.”
President Obama worked with automakers and California leaders to reach an agreement calling for all cars and light trucks manufactured in the U.S. to average more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025, which would have prevented six billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles in model years between 2022 and 2025. The rules were designed to cut tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming. Vehicle emission standards for greenhouse gases were one of two signature Obama-era climate policies.
The Mayor’s Order enables the District to commit to the same standards adopted by California, enabling Washington, DC to maintain responsible vehicle emissions standards despite the Trump Administration’s steps backward.
Mayor Bowser’s announcement comes alongside the District’s commitment to join the BreatheLife Challenge, which officially launched today. The BreatheLife Challenge is a pledge to reduce air pollution by “a marathon a month” (the equivalent of 26 miles of car use) by walking, biking, and utilizing public transportation. The Challenge is a joint effort between the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment, and Climate & Clean Air Coalition.
Yesterday, Washington, DC joined California and 16 other states in suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its rollback of clean car rules. But by implementing these California-level standards, Washington, DC is acting now and not waiting for a court to rule on the legitimacy of the Trump Administration’s attempt to roll back tough emissions standards.
Today’s announcement builds upon Mayor Bowser’s demonstrated long-term commitment to lowering the District’s carbon footprint and saving taxpayer money. In 2015, Mayor Bowser announced a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Iberdrola Renewables, LLC that will supply 35 percent of DC Government’s electricity with wind power. This PPA was the largest wind power deal of its kind ever entered into by an American city, and is projected to save District taxpayers $45 million over the next 20 years. The Department of General Services has facilitated the installation of more than 11 megawatts of solar electricity on roughly 50 DC Government properties during the last three years, which may represent the largest municipal onsite solar project in the country. HD Woodson High School’s 670 kilowatt (kW) solar canopy and rooftop installation represents the most powerful solar system in the District. Dunbar High School in Ward 6 represents the highest rated LEED-certified school in the United States, with two other schools certified at the LEED Platinum level. The District is currently ahead of its goal to reach a 40 percent tree canopy by 2032.
Earlier this year, Mayor Bowser committed the District of Columbia to becoming carbon neutral and climate ready by 2050. Today’s announcement – adding to an existing, long list of previous Mayoral actions – represents another step toward reaching that goal.